August 2023 • Volume 17, No. 8

From the Editor

August is Neurosurgery Awareness Month and a good time to look at a topic we haven’t covered before: spinal stenosis.

Spinal stenosis is a medical condition characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal or spaces within the spine, which can put pressure on the spinal cord and its nerves. This narrowing can lead to pain and numbness in the back or limbs, weakness, and problems with balance or coordination. It most commonly occurs in the lower back (lumbar spinal stenosis) or the neck (cervical spinal stenosis).

Although some cases of spinal stenosis are due to congenital causes or trauma, a majority of cases are caused by degenerative changes. In the US, “Studies have shown that 1/1000 persons over the age of 65 years and about 5/1000 persons over the age of 50 years are likely to get spinal stenosis,” the NIH’s Continuing Education page on Spinal Stenosis states. “The prevalence of the disease is predicted to increase to about 18 million in the next decade.”

Our graduate in the spotlight is Julia Hile, MSN, RN, CNOR, from Erie, PA.

And scroll down for NIFA news, jobs we’ve collected for you, and NIFA’s favorite links.


Julie Lancaster, Editor


On July 1, Jim Stobinski, PhD, RN, CNOR, CSSM(E), CNAMB(E), NIFA’s Director of Education, became President of the Board for ABNS, the American Board of Nursing Specialties. ABNS is focused on improving patient outcomes and consumer protection by promoting specialty nursing certification. His term will run for two years.

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Jim also represented NIFA at the Annual Meeting of the Colorado Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, held in Denver on June 28. Jim presented a seminar, “Workforce Issues in Surgical Care,” looking at demographic shifts in the US healthcare workforce and current staffing challenges in surgical services. NIFA also had a booth at the meeting. 




Surgeon Livestreaming Procedures on TikTok Loses Medical License

A plastic surgeon was accused of neglecting her patients during surgeries that she was livestreaming on TikTok. After investigating, the State Medical Board of Ohio revoked her medical license.
Read report from . . .

Spinal Stenosis – Basic Resources

Non-surgical approaches used to treat stenosis include anti-inflammatory medications . . . analgesics or prescription medications to relieve pain . . . epidural injections . . . physical therapy . . . posture management, stretching and exercise . . . weight management and nicotine cessation.

But since this is a surgical newsletter, let’s turn to the surgeries used. One common surgery is decompressive laminectomy, in which the laminae (roof) of the vertebrae are removed to create more space for the nerves. This may be done with or without fusing vertebrae or removing part of a disk. A spinal fusion may be indicated to enhance fusion and support unstable areas of the spine.

Many other surgeries are called into play for various conditions. They are summarized on two American Association of Neurological Surgeons pages: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and Cervical Stenosis.

Spinal Stenosis – Basic Resources

  • Stem Cells and Intervertebral Disc Regeneration Overview—What They Can and Can’t Do. This article appeared in the International Journal of Spine Surgery in April 2021. Read article . . .
  • New Comparative Effectiveness Study Supports Surgical Treatment for Spinal Stenosis. In a large, national study, researchers reported unexpected findings that support the benefit of spine surgery for spinal stenosis over conventional medical treatment. This February 2023 article from PR Newswire reports on the study, which appeared in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Read article . . .


Spinal Stenosis Videos

Lumbar Laminectomy. A 3-minute teaching video from St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Oklahoma. It uses 3-dimensional animation to explain the structures at play and the surgical processes. Watch now . . .

Full-endoscopic Discectomy at the Lumbar Spine. A 14-minute video in which Professor Dr. Chirsoph Siepe of the Schon Clinic in Munich conducts a surgery and discusses the process. Throughout much of the video, the viewer can see a view of the surgeon in one panel and a view of what the endoscopic camera is seeing in the other panel. Watch now . . .

Laminoplasty Demonstration. A 37-minute video from the Seattle Science Foundation showing a cervical laminoplasty procedure. Watch now . . .


Student Spotlight: Julia Hile


Student Status
Graduated 6/2023 from NIFA’s RNFA program

City & State
Erie, PA

Current Position
I currently work as a circulating and scrub nurse in the cardiovascular operating room (CVOR) at Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie, PA.

Where did you get your RN degree?
Pennsylvania State University, The Behrend College

What was your path to nursing and perioperative nursing?
I had the opportunity to watch surgery in high school during an anatomy class field trip. Ever since then I knew I wanted to be a surgical nurse to help relieve the pain patients experience every day.

I did an OR rotation during nursing school. I was able to watch a CABG and learned that nurses are able to take vein for the procedure. I thought that was the coolest career and said I want to be an RNFA.

What is the funniest or scariest moment you’ve ever seen at the table?
I have seen a lot of funny and scary moments that have always brought our team together and closer.

What is one technique or RNFA trick you’ve learned from NIFA that you will use for life?
I learned how to make tight secure knots every time.

How do you feel having your RNFA will impact your life/career?
I believe being an RNFA will allow me to learn how to be a better team member and a leader to better care for my patients.

Jobs Front

Click here for the RNFA job postings we’ve collected for you this month.

NIFA – Office Hours

Monday-Thursday, 8:00am – 5:00pm
Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm

Practice Resources

Here are several of the most-in-demand sites for our students, prospective students and grads:

MD Edge Surgery News: Specialty News and Commentaries, Videos and More
RNFA Scope of Practice by State (PDF)
ACS List of Cases that Require an Assistant at Surgery, 2020 (PDF)
Perioperative Nurse Links (state nursing boards & professional associations)
APRN Nurse Links






Disclaimer: The views expressed in this newsletter are strictly those of their respective authors and do not necessarily represent the views of NIFA. NIFA does not give any express or implied warranty as to the accuracy of statements made by our contributors and does not accept any liability for error or omission. It is the responsibility of all perioperative personnel to work within and adhere to their facility bylaws and individual scope of practice.

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